To keep your granite looking like new, it's going to take a little specialized care. Using the wrong cleaning products on natural stone can scratch, mar, and discolor the finish. Likewise, using the wrong cleaning implements can cause damage, too. That's why we've put together Your Ultimate Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Granite Countertops. It has all the tips you need to keep your granite looking spectacular.
Got granite? Few elements add such beauty to your kitchen as a sweeping expanse of a polished granite countertop. Granite raises the resale value of your home and lends an upscale appearance to your favorite space. But this natural stone finish also requires specialized care to keep it looking bright and new. Use the wrong cleaner or the wrong cleaning method, and you can do costly damage.
Cleaners that contain bleach, ammonia, vinegar, lemon, lime, or citric acid cause huge problems when used on delicate granite. In fact, they can cause a range of issues that are difficult to repair, including:
- Sealant damage
- Reduced shine
If you’re currently using cleaners such as these, stop right away. Opt instead for cleaning solutions that have been specially derived to clean natural stone such as granite. Here’s what we recommend:
Table of Contents
- Chemical-Based Cleaners for Granite
- All-Natural, Plant-Based Cleaners for Granite
- DIY Granite Cleaner
- Best Tools and Materials to Use on Granite
- Proper Care and Maintenance of Granite Countertops
- Removing Stains from Granite
Chemical-Based Cleaners for Granite
Chemical-based cleaners should only be used if they specifically say safe for granite on the label. Otherwise, they could contain corrosive or irritating ingredients that will dull, pit, or scar your countertops. Happily, market shelves are filled with cleaners that will clean your granite without damaging it, including:
The Granite Gold Line of Products
Since the 1950s, Granite Gold, Inc has helped homeowners care for their natural stone surfaces, including granite. Their products are made with preservation in mind, and they clean granite and other natural stone surfaces safely and easily. Look for the Granite Gold Label.
Granite Gold comes in spray formula, disposable daily cleaning wipes, and refill bottles. They also sell specially designed microfiber cloths that clean and shine without scratching. There is also a granite scrub sponge that’s non-abrasive for tough, stuck-on messes.
Weiman Granite Cleaner
Weiman products are also safe for granite and natural stone countertops. Weiman sells an aerosol cleaning spray, pump bottle, disposable wipes, squirt bottles, cleaning kits, and more. Weiman products claim to clean while enhancing the color and veining in your granite. Additionally, they help reduce the appearance of scratches and improve luster and shine. That’s a win-win for homeowners who love granite.
Other Granite Cleaners
Many other companies sell granite cleaners, microfiber cloths, daily cleaning wipes, and more. They include Black Diamond, Rock Doctor, Stone Care, Carbona, and more. All have been formulated to care for granite countertops without damaging them. The take-away is to make sure the cleaner you buy has been granite-approved. Anything less won’t do.
More About Chemical- Based Granite Cleaners
While chemical-based cleaners made for countertops are safe for food surfaces, they do still contain chemicals that some homeowners may find harsh. If you prefer natural alternatives to chemical cleaners, there are plenty of plant-based cleaners on the market that does a good job of helping you maintain a gorgeous granite finish. These won’t introduce additional solvents or oil-based chemicals into your kitchen or bath.
All-Natural, Plant-Based Cleaners for Granite
Use caution when purchasing plant-based cleaners for granite. Many contain citric acid as an ingredient. Though many multi-purpose cleaners claim to be safe for natural stone, ones that contain citric acid should be avoided. Here’s what we recommend in all-natural cleaners for granite:
HAUS Naturals Granite Cleaner
We’re cleaning up with the cleaning articles lately and we just can’t help but put our favorite all-natural cleaning brand HAUS Naturals at the top of yet another list and that’s because this chemical-free, biodegradable, lovely smelling granite cleaner rocks. It cleans like a dream. Is very nicely priced. All-in-all, it’s awesome.
Method Daily Granite Cleaner Spray
From the Method line of all-natural cleaning products, this daily granite cleaner comes in a pump spray bottle and an apple orchard scent. Safe for granite and other types of natural stone, Method’s cleaner is plant-based and naturally derived. It’s not tested on animals, and the bottle is 100-percent recyclable.
Therapy Granite Cleaner and Polish
Therapy Granite Cleaner is a non-toxic and solvent-free solution for maintaining natural stone finishes such as countertops. Boasting a clean, fresh scent and a neutral PH, it’s safe for granite, marble, and other types of natural stone. Available in a two-pack of spray pump bottles or as a kit with a single bottle and microfiber cloth, Therapy is a popular choice of all-natural granite cleaner.
Rock Doctor Granite Cleaner (New Natural Formula)
Plant-derived and safe for natural stone, including granite, Rock Doctor’s new natural formula contains no harsh chemicals. Non-abrasive, with a fresh-smelling coconut scent, it comes in a pump spray bottle that’s 100-percent recyclable.
DIY Granite Cleaner
Ready to try your hand at whipping up a do-it-yourself granite cleaner? The ingredients you need to make it are likely already in your cupboards and medicine cabinet. There are several recipes that work well on granite without causing scratches, pitting, or other damage. We suggest giving the following concoctions a try:
Granite Cleaner Using Rubbing Alcohol
- One-half cup of rubbing alcohol
- One half-teaspoon dish liguid
- One and one-half cups warm water
- 20 drops of your favorite essential oil for scent
Combine all ingredients in a clean spray bottle and shake well. Use it to spritz on granite countertops, backsplashes, and floors. Use a soft, dry microfiber cloth to wipe off immediately. Never allow water, cleaners, or other liquids to pool and set on granite, as staining may result.
Granite Cleaner using Dish Soap and Water
One of the easiest solutions to use in cleaning granite is a simple mixture of warm water and dish soap.
- Wet a soft, non-abrasive sponge
- Add a squirt of dish soap and massage the sponge
- Wring dry and use to wipe down countertops using circular motions
- Wipe counters dry to avoid streaking
Use caution when following DIY granite-cleaning tutorials from the internet. Many tout the powers of vinegar or hydrogen peroxide as safe for granite when they’re not. Be sure to research any strange combinations that friends recommend before subjecting your beautiful granite countertops to a mixture that could cause costly damage.
Best Tools and Materials to Use on Granite
The tools and materials that you use on your granite countertops make a difference, too. Sponges or pads that are too abrasive can scratch, mar, or otherwise damage the finish. They can also damage or remove the sealant in areas if you scrub too vigorously. Once the topcoat of sealant has failed on granite countertops, the surface returns to its original porous state. This allows water and liquids to permeate the stone, causing stubborn stains that are hard to remove.
To keep your natural stone countertops looking new and performing well, use only granite-approved tools and cleaning implements such as these:
Soft sponges are good at holding water if you need to do a little scrubbing to remove stubborn, stuck-on debris. Use sponges that have no metal or fiberglass fibers to avoid leaving scratches behind.
Probably the best choice for cleaning surfaces such as granite or marble, a simple microfiber cloth can be used wet or dry and won’t mar your countertop in any way. These cloths can be purchased in the kitchen cleaning department of most retailers, or as part of granite-cleaning kits offered by various manufacturers.
Use only the disposable wipes that are specially formulated to clean granite. Use a wipe one time and then throw it away. For heavy cleaning duties, use multiple wipes.
Specially formulated scrubbing sponge
These sponges are usually two-sided. One side is soft, and the other has been designed with a nubby surface to help remove stubborn dirt. It should be noted that sponges like these should say non-abrasive. Otherwise, they may cause scratches.
Granite cleaning kits usually contain everything you need to clean your countertops in one convenient package. For example, your cleaning kit may include a spray bottle of cleaning formula, a refill bottle of cleaning formula, and a microfiber cleaning cloth or granite-safe sponge.
These are usually made of hard plastic and can be used to scrape tough debris or soap residue from granite without scratching the finish.
Proper Care and Maintenance of Granite Countertops
Once it’s been sealed, a granite countertop performs well with relatively little maintenance, but some special care is required. This includes having to reapply seal periodically and taking care in how forcefully you scrub when cleaning. Keep these tips in mind when caring for granite:
Wipe Up Spills Immediately
Any type of substance that’s allowed to pool or remain on your granite countertops could cause stubborn stains to form. It could also damage the finish, weaken the sealant, and cause liquids to sink into the porous stone.
Avoid Using Abrasive Materials
Abrasive powders, steel wool, and other cleaning agents and materials that could scratch or mar your natural stone should be avoided. If you need to remove stubborn debris that’s stuck on, use multiple applications of mild soap and water, wiped on with a soft cloth. Clean in gentle, circular motions.
Wipe Granite Countertops Down Daily
To avoid being faced with stuck-on debris and stains, wipe your granite countertops down daily with plain dish soap and water. Use a stronger, granite-approved cleaning agent occasionally if circumstances demand.
Use Cutting Boards, Coasters, and Hot Pads Atop Granite
Protect natural stone countertops by using cutting boards to chop meats and vegetables. Never place hot pans directly atop granite. Use a hot pad instead. Place coasters under hot and cold beverages to keep rings from forming.
Removing Stains from Granite
If stubborn stains begin to discolor the appearance of your pristine countertops, there are DIY solutions you can use to help lessen their appearance. Before applying any harsh chemicals or agents to your granite, however, check your manufacturer’s recommendations on how to remove stains. Ingredients that may be helpful include baking soda, rubbing alcohol, acetone, or diatomaceous earth, mixed with other materials, made into poultices, and placed over the stain overnight. Granite Care Pro offers a comprehensive guide for removing stains from granite.
How Often Should You Reseal Granite Countertops?
Granite manufacturers once advised homeowners to reseal their granite countertops annually. But thanks to advancements in materials and design, sealants now last much longer. Exactly how often you should reseal your countertops depends on several factors, including:
- Whether your countertops see light or heavy usage
- How often you use chemical-based cleaners on your granite
- The types of cleaners you routinely use
- The type of sealer you’re using
To check if your countertop needs the reapplication of a sealant, use the drop test. Simply allow a few droplets of water to sit on the counter for several minutes. If they bead up and wait to be wiped away, your sealant is still effective. If they absorb into the countertop, it’s time to reseal. You can stretch the length of time between reapplications by using chemical-based granite cleaners that also contain sealant. Every time you clean, trace amounts of sealant are reapplied. Stonetech Revitalizer by DuPont is a good choice.